That humour has rarely trodden a more cobbled path than in recent years makes the mean streets of Edinburgh an especially apposite place for the good, the bad, and the downright ugly of the comedy world to ply their wares.
Call off the search: this superb set gets it right every single minute
It is a peculiarity of our people that at a time when - by any standards or allegiances - the country is in free-fall, political comedy on television is noticeable by its absence. The days of TW3, Rory Bremner, even the reboot of Spitting Image are over. Even Have I Got News For You seems now to be scheduled in slots which guarantee minimal political shenanigans to expose.
Perhaps we are living in different times. Perhaps the rise of DIY satirists on social media plugs the gap. Perhaps shouting at radio phone-ins is sufficient. Perhaps no-one cares anymore.
Except of course, we do. Which is why the queue for Matt Forde’s latest Fringe show snakes all the way around the Courtyard, and then some. We have a visceral need not just to puncture the pomposities of those at the top of the Establishment tree; but to know that we are not alone.
Forde is the absolute master of his particular craft: and his craft is not to address a party political rally but to throw razor-sharp observations and impersonations at all comers. So yes, there were some moments that didn’t put a snap in my cracker; and yes I would probably personally prefer an entire hour of cathartic Trump and Britain Trump impressions… but this is sort of the point. No one is safe. Forde puts little of himself on show; preferring to turn a wide-eyed astonishment that any allegedly professional politician could be as full of ineptitude as the dopes and chancers we have been lumbered with.
The jokes come thick and fast; and land (objectively, at least) every time. The impressions are knicker-wittingly bang on. The vibe is bloke down the pub on an extended, Stella-induced rant you wish you'd filmed. The only problem is that the staff are busy putting the chairs on the tables and there isn’t time for more. I would happily sit and listen for another hour.
One of the things no-one ever tells you about getting older is that laughing out loud becomes less and less frequent. The aches, the pains, the endless paperwork are well documented… but that you will have heard almost all of the jokes by the time you are forty is less acknowledged. So to spend an hour in the company of someone who will, so apparently effortlessly, make you belly laugh and feel less morally isolated is quite something. So, if political comedy is your sort of thing, you can call off the search. This is a superb set which - unlike the wallopers Forde so deservedly lampoons - gets it right every single minute.